grande dame

\ ˈgrän-ˈdäm \
plural grandes dames\ ˈgrän-​ˈdäm(z) \ also grande dames\ ˈgrän-​ˈdäm(z) \

Definition of grande dame

1 : a usually elderly woman of great prestige or ability

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Synonyms for grande dame


dame, dowager, matriarch, matron

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Examples of grande dame in a Sentence

the city's grandes dames still hold considerable sway in its cultural life

Recent Examples on the Web

Château d’Adrien: The old-school, grande dame of Verbier’s hotels, any skier worth her salt has stayed—or dined—here at one point or another. Todd Plummer, Harper's BAZAAR, "6 Envy-Inducing Ways to Experience the Best of Verbier," 1 Nov. 2018 Aspen’s grande dame hotel, The Little Nell, recently renovated its 86 guest rooms. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "The Millionaires Living in the Mining Cabins," 1 Nov. 2018 In the realm of memorable evenings, one of my standouts was a dinner around 1998 at grande dame Casey Ribicoff's Sutton Place apartment. Alex Hitz, House Beautiful, "Billionaire's Meatloaf from Alex Hitz," 8 Oct. 2014 The Breakers, 1 S. County Rd., 655-6611; The island's grande dame oceanfront resort, located on 140 acres in the center of town, with golf, tennis, beach club, shopping arcade, and full-service spa. Robert Janjigian, ELLE Decor, "ELLE DECOR Goes to Palm Beach," 16 Dec. 2010 Selling FINE Art Vincent Price pitches Picasso The target Sears customer was the average American, not the uptown grande dame bedecked in pearls and furs. Tiffany Hsu, The Seattle Times, "When Sears was everywhere: espionage, politics and fine art," 15 Oct. 2018 Drink: The Crown & Anchor Inn This grande dame of Commercial Street is an oldie but goodie. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 In Gordon, the grande dame of American fashion has selected a successor on her terms, a polite young man from Atlanta who is shrewdly respectful of her sense of ownership over a label that still bears her name. Erik Maza, Town & Country, "Meet Wes Gordon, the Young Man Leading the Next Chapter of Carolina Herrera," 8 Aug. 2018 White wasn’t a grande dame like her aunt or an unbridled romantic like Diana Vreeland. Stephen Mooallem, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pop Goes Bazaar: A Look Back at the Magazine in the 1960s," 9 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grande dame.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grande dame

1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grande dame

French, literally, great lady

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Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

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The first known use of grande dame was in 1775

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grande dame


English Language Learners Definition of grande dame

: a usually old woman who is highly admired or respected

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What made you want to look up grande dame? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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